Medical Use of Narcotics (Benefit Tips ® - © 2014)

Perspective of Narcotics

Since your drug benefit plan provides employees and their dependants access to narcotics it would be helpful to assess your perspective on this type of medication. Pain management is an important part of dealing with acute conditions such as surgery as well as chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer related pain. Opioids have been used for thousands of years, yet the American “war on drugs” has stigmatized this class of medication and those who rely on it to reduce the feelings of pain. The fear of side-effects and addiction needs to be balanced with compassion for those suffering chronic pain.

Workplace Health and Safety

Medical use of narcotics by employees to manage chronic non-malignant pain may be a workplace health and safety issue due to changes in cognitive function such as sedation, unsteadiness and cognitive decline. Cognitive requirements are important components of job descriptions for positions that could put the employee, co-worker or third party at risk. The ability to asses an employee’s ability to perform their job is an important component of performance evaluation.

Background Information

Opioids and the Treatment of Chronic Pain